Coronavirus and covid-19 Wuhan virus news
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of respiratory viruses that can cause mild to moderate diseases, from the common cold to respiratory syndromes such as MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome, Middle East respiratory syndrome) and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome, Severe acute respiratory syndrome). They are so called because of the crown-shaped tips that are present on their surface.
Coronaviruses are common in many animal species (such as camels and bats) but in some cases, although rarely, they can evolve and infect humans and then spread to the population. A new coronavirus is a new coronavirus strain that has never previously been identified in humans. In particular, the one provisionally named at the beginning of the 2019-nCoV epidemic, has never been identified before being reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
In the first half of February, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV), which deals with the designation and naming of viruses (i.e. species, genus, family, etc.), assigned the new coronavirus its definitive name: “Acute severe respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” (SARS-CoV-2). To indicate the new name were a group of experts specifically appointed to study the new coronavirus strain. According to this pool of scientists, the new coronavirus is the brother of what caused Sars (SARS-CoVs), hence the chosen name of SARS-CoV-2.
The new virus name (SARS-Cov-2) replaces the old one (2019-nCoV).
Also in the first half of February (precisely 11 February), WHO announced that the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus was called COVID-19 . The new abbreviation is a summary of the terms CO-rona VI-rus D-isease and the year of identification, 2019.
The most common symptoms of a coronavirus infection in humans include fever, cough, breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. In particular:
Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract diseases, such as the common cold, that last for a short period of time. Symptoms can include:
a runny nose
a general feeling of being unwell.
Like other respiratory diseases, new coronavirus infection can cause mild symptoms such as a cold, sore throat, cough and fever, or more severe symptoms such as pneumonia and breathing difficulties. It can rarely be fatal. The people most susceptible to severe forms are the elderly and those with pre-existing diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Since the symptoms caused by the new coronavirus are nonspecific and similar to those of the common cold and the flu virus, laboratory tests can be carried out in case of suspicion to confirm the diagnosis. People living or who have traveled to areas infected with the new coronavirus, especially in China, are at risk of infection. Few other cases occurred in those who lived or worked closely with infected people in China.
The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus that spreads mainly through contact with the breath droplets of infected people, for example through:
saliva, coughing and sneezing;
direct personal contacts;
hands, for example by touching contaminated (not yet washed) hands with mouth, nose or eyes.
In rare cases, infection can occur through faecal contamination.
Normally respiratory diseases are not transmitted with food, which in any case must be handled respecting good hygiene practices and avoiding contact between raw and cooked food.
New coronavirus: the point on transmission mechanisms
According to currently available data, symptomatic people are the most frequent cause of the virus spreading. WHO considers new coronavirus infection infrequent before symptoms develop.
The incubation period varies between 2 and 12 days; 14 days represent the maximum precautionary limit.
The transmission route to be feared is above all the respiratory one, not the one from contaminated surfaces. However, it is always useful to remember the importance of proper hygiene of surfaces and hands. The use of alcohol-based cleaners is also sufficient to kill the virus. For example disinfectants containing 75% alcohol (ethanol) or 1% chlorine based (bleach).
Respiratory diseases are normally not transmitted through food. Here, too, compliance with hygiene rules is essential.
There is no specific treatment for the disease caused by a new coronavirus and there are currently no vaccines available to protect against the virus. Treatment is based on the patient’s symptoms and supportive care can be very effective. Specific therapies are being studied.
You can reduce the risk of infection by protecting yourself and others by following a few precautions:
Wash your hands often with soap and water or with alcohol solution (after coughing / sneezing, after caring for a sick person, before during and after food preparation, before eating, after going to the bathroom, after touching animals or their droppings or more generally when the hands are dirty in any way).
In the care sector (for example in hospitals) follow the advice of healthcare professionals who provide assistance.
Generalized use of surgical masks in the absence of symptoms is not recommended.
If you have any respiratory infection cover your nose and mouth when you cough and / ostarnutisci (inner elbow / handkerchief);
If you used a tissue, throw it away after use;
Wash your hands after coughing / sneezing.
The World Health Organization recommends wearing a mask only if you suspect you have contracted the new coronavirus and experience symptoms such as coughing or sneezing or if you are caring for a person with suspected new coronavirus infection (recent trip to China and respiratory symptoms) .